Objective medical proof not necessary for accommodation duties to arise

November 10, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 1 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Under human rights legislation across the country, Canadian employers have a general duty to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their work for a period of time because of illness or disability to the point of undue hardship.

This may require an employer to grant an employee a leave of absence from the workplace. But what if the employee doesn’t provide medical documentation to justify such an absence; surely you could deny the leave? Not necessarily, according to an Ontario arbitrator in TRW Canada Ltd. and TPEA (Lockhart). read more…

Contracting out union work – comparing cases

September 15, 2013 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

An interesting series of recent labor tribunal decisions provides lessons about the application of contracting out clauses in union agreements. These cases demonstrate how virtually the same collective agreement requirements can be handled quite differently, with dramatically different outcomes. They also demonstrate that contracting out bargaining unit work in the face of collective agreement restrictions needs to be done in a carefully considered and planned manner. read more…

Court refuses to referee fight regarding plant-closure agreement

July 28, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Unionized employees in Canada can’t bring employment claims to court. This is so even where there is no longer any collective agreement in place. So ruled an Ontario court recently in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc. read more…

Accommodation of Family Status on Same Footing as Other Human Rights

November 01, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Ralph Nero and Ida Martin

Do parents of young children have the right to refuse a geographic transfer? In the case of three employees at the Canadian National Railway (CNR), the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) has recently answered “yes.”

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Blowing Holes in Collective Agreements

October 04, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested and Dominique Monet

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Québec (Procureur général) c. Syndicat de la fonction publique, recently struck down a clause in a collective agreement. The clause in question prevented certain employees from challenging discipline through grievance arbitration. The Court declared the clause void because it contravened a statutory minimum standard.

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Another Strike Against Wal-Mart in Quebec: Arbitrator Imposes Collective Agreement

June 23, 2009 - by: Dominique Launay 0 COMMENTS

For the last five years, two Wal-Mart big-box stores in Quebec have been the subject of certification applications filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). The first store to be unionized was located in the town of Jonquière. Wal-Mart decided to close down that operation in 2005 immediately after the union applied for binding arbitration to settle the terms of the collective agreement.

The Quebec Labor Code provides that an arbitrator designated by the Minister of Labor can impose the content of a first collective agreement. This may be done when the parties are unable to reach an agreement, after negotiation and government-assisted mediation/conciliation. In imposing an agreement, the arbitrator must decide the terms “according to equity and good conscience.” The arbitrator may also take into account the conditions of employment that prevail in similar businesses.

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Weathering the Economic Storm in Canada: Restructuring and Employees’ Rights

May 12, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

By Leanne Fioravanti and Stephen Acker

In these tough financial times, a number of companies are trying to reorganize themselves in order to avoid insolvency or bankruptcy. In Canada, there are several laws that help facilitate this process: the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). For the most part, employees are often left high and dry during these restructurings, as these laws don’t offer them much protection.

Canadian processes
The CCAA is a federal law that allows financially troubled companies that owe in excess of $5 million the opportunity to restructure their affairs. The CCAA process is court-driven, giving judges a high degree of flexibility to decide how best to deal with the specific cases before them. A monitor is appointed to oversee the restructuring and to report to the court when necessary about the restructuring.

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Attendance Management Programs and Human Rights

May 05, 2009 - by: Derek Knoechel 0 COMMENTS

Managing absenteeism can be a significant challenge for Canadian employers. A wide variety of factual situations may be complicated by employment standards, privacy and human rights laws, as well as any applicable union agreements.

An example of the potential challenges of implementing an attendance management program (AMP) is the decade-long battle between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. (CMBC) and the Canadian Auto Workers. It involved an AMP covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia.

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Wal-Mart gets its first union contract

August 26, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian P. Smeenk

Wal-Mart, which has until now apparently been union-free, has had a union contract imposed on it in Quebec. The contract covers an auto center, Tire & Lube Express, which is part of a store in Gatineau, near the Ontario border. The small group of about eight employees apparently received union certification three years ago.

Under Quebec’s Labour Code, an employer may have a union contract imposed on it by an arbitrator if it is unable to reach a collective agreement with the certified union. The normal bargaining process must first have failed.

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Business Transactions Won’t Eliminate Union Bargaining Rights in Canada

June 10, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

Labor laws in Canada provide that the purchaser of a business will generally “take over” any collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between a union and the vendor. The purchaser becomes the “successor employer” and becomes bound by the vendor’s existing CBAs. In this situation, the union continues to represent unionized employees after the sale or transfer of the business to the new owners or operators.

In addition to the continuation of bargaining rights after a sale or transfer, two companies that are under “common control or direction” can be held to constitute a single or common employer for labor relations purposes. Such a finding can mean that the union’s bargaining unit encompasses employees of both companies.

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